For family historians, enjoyment comes not just from seeing our ancestors’ names in print or learning about the worlds they inhabited, but in reading the very words they read.

Emma Jolly, in the article Historic Newspapers

Emma Jolly writer, historian, genealogist
  1. Writers’ Blog Tour

    Last month I received an email from fellow Pen and Sword author, Sue Wilkes, inviting me to participate in a writers’ blog tour. The aim of the tour is to showcase the work of bloggers from across the world. So far, the tour has introduced excellent writers and historians, such as Gill Mawson, Angela Buckley, Michelle Higgs and, of course, Sue.

    Sue also invited Jane Odiwe to take part. Jane’s work is inspired by the novels of Jane Austen and her website is

    As this week’s host of the tour, it is my turn to answer the four questions about my work and writing.

    Taken by Di Bouglas

    What am I working on?

    I have recently completed an MA in History: Imperialism and Culture. For my final dissertation I explored cultural imperialism in Britain through the international friendship work of Mary Trevelyan and Student Movement House, 1932-1946. This has encouraged me to work more on women’s history. Inspired by the lives of my female ancestors in the Black Country, I am researching the history of women’s work and shall be blogging on that soon. Outside of research and writing, I am promoting my latest family history research guide, My Ancestor was a Woman at War (SOG, 2013) and have a number of related events lined up over the summer.

    Woman at War cover

    How does my work differ from others of its genre?

    Family history is a fascinating genre and approaches the past at a different angle from traditional historical research. My books so far have been introductions to different topics within the subject of family history. Although they are comprehensive and include thorough lists of resources, I also aim to make them easy to read and full of interesting social history.

    Why do ‘I write what I do?

    I am passionate about history and encouraging as many people as possible to learn about their family’s pasts. If just one person is encouraged to begin family history research as a result of one of my articles or books, I’ll be very pleased.

    How does my writing process work?

    I write at home in London, on a tiny desk in the corner of a room. I research in archives, online and using books from my ever-increasing collection. Research and planning are key. All my articles and books are tightly planned around sectioned word counts before I begin to write. Ideally, I would write with a fountain pen on paper at a vast desk overlooking a lush valley, but most deadlines usually demand that I type at the computer keyboard. Eye strain is an unfortunate hazard of the job!

    Finally, I am delighted to be able to introduce two exciting new writers from opposite sides of the world:

    Debra Watkins is the author of Symphony of War (Amazon eBook) and is also a complete family history buff. She divides her time between writing novels, and researching her family’s local and social history. Born in Beccles, England she has a deep emotional connection to the town, even though she lives permanently in Australia, and most of her work has a distinct Becclesian flavour. Debra blogs at Also and

    Liz Loveland, an American living in Massachusetts, is a writer and researcher who sometimes wishes she could be paid to read old newspapers all day and didn’t know her family’s local roots when she relocated. She writes about family history and social history for magazines as a freelancer and is working on a non-fiction book. She blogs at My Adventures in Genealogy and is putting her ancestor’s diary of Victorian Paris online at Addie’s Sojourn.

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Member of The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in ArchivesGraduate of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies CanterburyMember of the Society of Genealogists